“I see a lot of people who love their jobs. I see some garbage collectors smiling as they go about their work.”

Willie Stargell, Baseball Player

Pros and Cons of Working as a Garbage Man

advantages and disadvantages of being a garbage collector

You consider working as a garbage man? While there are indeed some upsides to this profession, being a garbage man also implies many downsides.

Thus, make sure to read all the pros and cons of being a garbage man in this article so that you can make a profound career choice.

Garbage Collector Job Profile

Job DescriptionGarbage men are responsible for collecting our trash. They do a really important job since without them, our cities would look like garbage dumps pretty soon.
Salary$39,000 per year on average, most garbage men make between $28,000 – $55,000 per year.
Job SecurityDecent job security since almost nobody wants to do this job anymore.
Job SatisfactionRather low since you have to remove smelly trash all day long.
Work-Life BalanceGood since you have free weekends and holidays most of the year.
Physically / Mentally Demanding?Working as a garbage man can be physically demanding.
Future OutlookGood since our amounts of waste increase and more garbage men will be needed.
RequirementsNo special educational requirements, finishing high school will usually be enough.

Advantages of Being a Garbage Collector

  1. Garbage collectors do an important job for society
  2. You can keep our system running
  3. You can keep your area clean
  4. Garbage man don’t have to work with a computer all day long
  5. You get to know your neighborhood
  6. Garbage man have decent job security
  7. You don’t have to work on weekends or holidays
  8. You don’t have to work at nighttime as a garbage collector
  9. Good work-life balance in general
  10. Being a garbage collector is not that stressful
  11. Good future job prospects
  12. You don’t need to go to college to become a garbage man
  13. You can become independent of your parents pretty soon

Garbage collectors do an important job for society

One advantage of being a garbage collector is that you can do a really important job for society. Imagine there was no garbage collection. We would soon have excessive unpleasant smell in our streets and our city would just no longer look nice at all.

If garbage is not collected and removed properly, this can also lead to serious health issues since the likelihood of the development and the spread of diseases increases dramatically.

All this would greatly decrease our overall quality of life and many of us would be pretty helpless regarding how to solve the problem.

Thus, you will have a really important role as a garbage man since you will be the one who can make sure that the quality of life in your city stays high and that people can really enjoy their time living there.

You can keep our system running

In general, you will play an important role to keep our system running. Waste collection and disposal is just a major cornerstone for a working society.

Without proper garbage collection, our system would just fail and our processes would become much more inefficient since everyone would have to care about waste disposal themselves.

Consequently, many people will greatly appreciate your work since they know that what you are doing is pretty important and that you relieve people of unpleasant work that they don’t want to do themselves.

You can keep your area clean

While your main task will be to collect waste as a garbage man, you can also make sure to keep your area clean.

Especially if you work in an area you grew up, you will have a big inner motivation to keep this place healthy and free of trash so that the people you still know from childhood can have the best life possible.

It can also be pretty interesting to meet all those people from time to time and to chat with them about how life is going and about what’s going on in the world.

Hence, garbage men do more than just collecting waste. They also have many other tasks to do and also assure that their neighborhood flourishes in general.

Garbage man don’t have to work with a computer all day long

While many people in our current state of the world work in office jobs in front of a computer screen all day long, you can enjoy the fresh air as a garbage collector and don’t have to deal with all this technological stuff. Sure, also office jobs can be interesting and exciting from time to time.

Yet, you will often spend the majority of your time waiting or with presentations that actually nobody needs and which do not contribute to the success of the company you work for at all.

This can be really frustrating and this is also the reason who many people who work in office jobs are pretty unsatisfied with their work life.

In contrast, you will know that you do a really important job as a garbage collector since you can see the results of your work every day and chances are that you will be happier due to that in the long run compared to someone who goes to work every day just to make money without any deeper motivation or reason.

You get to know your neighborhood

Another upside to working as a garbage collector is that you can really get to know your neighborhood and your city in general. Even if you have lived in your city for many years, you will still not know many secret spots and places most often.

This is due to the fact that we as humans also choose some favorite locations and then stay with them instead of going out there and searching for something new.

As a garbage collector, you will find those new places during work since you will simply have to pick up the trash in several different locations and over time, there will be barely any place left that you haven’t seen before.

In turn, you will also be able to show your family and friends many nice and secret restaurants and shops.

Garbage man have decent job security

You will also not have to worry about losing your job that much. Since not many people want to become garbage collectors anymore, your job security will be pretty decent and chances are that you will also find a job as a garbage collector pretty soon.

Hence, a career as a garbage man can also make quite a lot of sense for you if you are the type of person who just wants to have a secure job and don’t want to worry that much about becoming unemployed.

You don’t have to work on weekends or holidays

Garbage men also don’t have to work on holidays or weekends, at least most of the time. This means that you can make nice weekend trips with your family or just relax in your garden and enjoying the sun.

While many other people in society even have to work on weekends since they have to prepare presentations for Monday, you can simply enjoy your leisure and can spend your time on things you like more.

You don’t have to work at nighttime as a garbage collector

Another benefit of becoming a garbage collector is that you also don’t have to work at nighttime. You will usually start your workday pretty early in the morning and will come home pretty soon in the afternoon or evening.

This means that you will have plenty of time to spend on your hobbies or to meet with family members or friends after work.

It also gives you enough time to go to the gym or to study in the evening in case you aspire to a more demanding career in the long run.

Good work-life balance in general

In general, not many garbage collectors will complain about poor work-life balance. Due to many free weekends and holidays, garbage men usually have more than enough leisure to manage their private life.

Not many people have this kind of luxury and many of us just have to work long hours every day and have barely any leisure at all.

Being a garbage collector is not that stressful

Many garbage collectors also really enjoy what they are doing and are really happy with their work. This is due to the fact that you can find a true purpose in what you are doing, but also due to the fact that working as a garbage man is usually not that stressful.

Sure, you will have to get your workload done. However, in most cases, this is really doable without having to hustle every minute of your workday.

Especially once you got a little bit of experience, your workday will be rather relaxed and you will also have time to chat a little bit with other people or to sit down for a minute.

Good future job prospects

Not only will you have pretty decent job security right now as a garbage man, but you will also benefit from excellent job prospects in the future. Since the amounts of waste we produce increase every year, more garbage collectors will be needed to pick up our trash.

Since not that many people want to become garbage men anymore, this further leads to a shortage of qualified workers in this field.

Hence, by becoming a garbage collector, you will not have to worry about losing your job in the future that much and even if you did, chances are that you will easily find a new one pretty soon.

You don’t need to go to college to become a garbage man

You also don’t have to go to college or get any other fancy education for becoming a garbage collector. It will be enough to finish high school and you will be good to go in most states.

In fact, it is much more important that you are motivated and are willing to work hard instead of just looking good on paper.

Trash is not removed by a degree, it is removed by people who know how to work with their hands and how to get things done. Thus, don’t be discouraged about any educational requirements you might have to meet.

Chances are that you will just be fine and you should just apply as a garbage collector if you want to go this career path, even if your grades are not good at all since your chances to be accepted are still not that bad.

You can become independent of your parents pretty soon

While many other people have to go to college to get a degree before they can pursue their dream job, you don’t have to spend any money on tuition or other expenses related to college education.

Instead, you can even earn money right after school and can also avoid the student loan debt trap that many young people fall into.

This also means that you will become independent of your parents pretty soon and will be able to stand on your own feet pretty early in your life.

While many of your friends will struggle financially to finance their college degree, you will be the one who already makes some money and many of your friends will be pretty envious due to that.

As you can see, there are many important advantages to being a garbage man. However, this is just one side of the story. I still also have to give you all the downsides to working as a garbage man so that you get an objective picture of reality and can better decide whether you still want to become a garbage collector or not.

Disadvantages of Being a Garbage Man

  1. Garbage men have to get up early in the morning
  2. Garbage collectors don’t make much money
  3. Some garbage men even need a second job
  4. Teleworking is not possible for garbage collectors
  5. Old-age poverty can be an issue
  6. Limited promotion opportunities for garbage men
  7. You have to work under extreme weather conditions
  8. Garbage men are at greater risk of accidents
  9. You have to deal with unpleasant smell
  10. Rather low social standing in society
  11. Challenging to find a partner
  12. Your family and friends may not understand your decision
  13. You may be made fun of
  14. Hard to switch fields after working as a garbage man

Garbage men have to get up early in the morning

One problem with being a garbage collector is that you have to get up pretty early in the morning. Sure, this can be great if you love getting up early and coming home early as well. However, many people just want to sleep longer in the morning and don’t want to get up that early at all.

Thus, if you are not an early bird but rather an owl, chances are that you will not become happy with this profession in the long run since you will always struggle to get out of bed in the morning.

Garbage collectors don’t make much money

You will also just not make good money as a garbage collector. While you may earn more than some other people you know, the majority of people still make significantly more money than you and you will often struggle to afford any luxury due to that.

This is especially true if you live in regions where living costs are pretty high. Thus, before deciding for a career as a garbage man, make sure that money is not that important to you since you will simply not make much of it.

Some garbage men even need a second job

In extreme cases, garbage collectors even need a second job to survive. If this is the case, your life will no longer be relaxed at all and you will always have to hustle to keep your two jobs so that you can pay your rent and other basic expenses.

Hence, make sure that you are willing to work hard and to do additional jobs as a garbage collector before going this career path. In fact, working in two jobs will almost never be fun at all and you should really ask yourself whether you want to go this route since there are plenty of job options that pay better and that are not that difficult to achieve.

Teleworking is not possible for garbage collectors

You will also not be able to work remotely as a garbage collector. While many people who just do regular office work are able to work from home quite often, you will always have to be present at your workplace in person and this takes away some level of freedom.

While people who are teleworking are often able to bring their kids to school or to pick them up from school and continue working afterward, you will not be able to do so and your level of flexibility will just be much lower.

Old-age poverty can be an issue

Since you will not make that much money as a garbage collector, chances are that you will also not be able to save enough money for retirement age. Also your pension will be rather low and many former garbage men really struggle to pay their bills once they retire.

Having to worry about money is not much fun, especially at an older age when your ability to make money is almost non-existent and you have to rely on the money you saved up in the past.

Limited promotion opportunities for garbage men

You will also have a hard time getting promoted as a garbage man. Sure, you will have a higher standing if you are in this field for a longer period of time.

Yet, you will still do pretty similar work like your new colleagues who just joined and this can be really frustrating since you will just not see that much progress.

You have to work under extreme weather conditions

While working outside can be great on nice summer days, it can also be extremely challenging in case it is snowing or raining. Garbage men have to work under all those conditions since our waste has to be removed somehow.

Thus, make sure that you are willing to work under those extreme conditions while other people just sit in a cozy office.

Garbage men are at greater risk of accidents

Many garbage workers also get involved in accidents sooner or later. While many of those accidents are of rather minor nature, others may even take away your life. For example, if you are not careful, you may just get hit by a car.

Therefore, garbage collectors also have a higher risk of accidents than the average person and you should also make sure that you are willing to take this extra risk as a garbage man.

You have to deal with unpleasant smell

Another disadvantage of being a garbage man is that you will also have to deal with plenty of unpleasant smell. While some people just don’t care about it at all, others are rather sensitive to it and you should ask yourself whether you are a person who can deal with smell pretty easily or if you are the type of person who can’t stand smell at all.

Rather low social standing in society

As a garage collector, you will also not have a high social standing at all. Sure, many people will appreciate your work since they know that you do an important job.

Yet, you will just not get the same kind of admiration as people who can really save lives during their jobs.

Challenging to find a partner

Another downside to becoming a garbage collector is that you might also experience problems in the dating market. Since you will not make that much money and also have a rather low social standing, you will have a much harder time in this regard compared to a person who makes good money and is highly socially recognized by society.

Your family and friends may not understand your decision

Even your loved ones may not understand why you want to become a garbage collector at all. Many of them will try to convince you that this job is just not good for you and that there are many other jobs that will be far better suited for you.

Therefore, be prepared to deal with all these negative comments before deciding for becoming a garbage man.

You may be made fun of

While many people will be nice and appreciate your work, some people may just make fun of you. They may even insult you and you should make sure that you have a stable mindset to deal with this kind of adversity.

Hard to switch fields after working as a garbage man

Before becoming a garbage man, you should also make sure that you want to work in this field for a pretty long time since it will just be pretty hard to switch jobs afterward.

Top 10 Being a Garbage Man Pros & Cons – Summary List

Being a Garbage Man ProsBeing a Garbage Man Cons
Garbage men do an important jobBeing a garbage man can be exhausting
You can keep our neighborhoods cleanYou have to deal with smell all day long
Being a garbage man can give you purposeRemoving garbage can be disgusting
You don’t have to work on weekendsGarbage collectors don’t make much money
Good work-life balance in generalSome people even make fun of you
Being a garbage man is not that stressfulRather low social standing of garbage men
Garbage collectors have good job securityDifficult to find a partner
You don’t need any fancy educationRisk of accidents
You can avoid student loan debtRather limited promotion options
You can become independent pretty earlyGarbage man have to work outdoors

Should You Become A Garbage Collector?

Now that you got all the advantages and disadvantages of being a garbage collector, it is on you to make your final decision in this regard.

Make sure to take your time since your career choice will greatly determine how your life will look like in the future.

Also make sure to check out the following articles if you want to learn more about additional promising job opportunities:

Advantages and disadvantages of working as a butcher

Advantages and disadvantages of working as a baker

Sources

https://www.comparably.com/salaries/salaries-for-garbage-man

https://www.statista.com/chart/18243/average-annual-mean-wage-of-garbage-and-recycling-workers/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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